Whoop! These girls did it – so can you. Now stop worrying and go do something fun! All of us started off as complete newbies to open water swimming and over the past 12 weeks we’ve worked to achieve something we didn’t know was possible. GO GIRLS!
Swim Day. This morning I was really nervous and couldn’t make my mind up about the wetsuit but eventually I decided to ditch it because I didn’t think I could swim and fight it at the same time. This got me worrying about the cold, especially after a few “ooh you’re brave” comments (I was anything but).
There’s no getting in gently at the start, the water is several meters deep straight from the pontoon so it is just a case of plopping in and making faces. I knew that would be the worst bit and couldn’t wait to get moving so I could warm up. The start was a melee of arms and feet which eased off after 100 m as people got into their pace. It was impossible to tell where you were in the group and I was just focusing on getting into a stroke which suited me without the buoyancy of the neoprene straitjacket. Technically you are slower without the suit but once I’d warmed up I didn’t regret it at all.
The half way point seemed to arrive fairly quickly with the ‘no swimming’ posts lining the waters edge. My plan had been to start quickly to get warm, slow into a steady rhythm, then speed up again for the last 200 m. It all went well other than I misread the 500 m sign as the 200 m sign and went into a finish sprint way too soon and had to slow down again to keep something in reserve to get across the line.
That said the fuel tank was on empty at the end and I was very much in need of celebratory tea and cake with the other ladies afterwards. My time was 34 minutes, but I have no idea if that is good or bad so I’m just going with it being ok for me.
It was a great experience to do the Henley Mile and something I would not have been able to do without the help of the #ThisGirlCan ladies. Knowing there are others going through the same ‘journey’ (we really need a less cliche word than this) as you really helps you persevere and not want to let the team down.
If I were to do it again I would try to get in a practice non-wetsuit swim beforehand, I would pay more attention to what stuff you are supposed to eat so you don’t feel starving half way along (we were all offered help with nutrition – I was just too embarrassed to submit my food diary which included a whole packet of jaffa cakes). Finally I’d have the benefit of hindsight so I’d not be so nervous and enjoy the swim more!
Thank you so much for all your support, the number of folks who have taken time to read these blogs and send encouragement this way has been really touching. There isn’t a charity I’m fundraising for but if you fancy voting for the Deaf-friendly Swimming Project to receive lottery funding then the link is here.
Over and out folks.